The truth is, not every entrepreneur needs a full business plan, but they do at least need a strategy to help direct their business. If you’re thinking of starting a company, but want to make sure it has the potential to be viable, business mapping can help you, without having to invest the time to develop a full plan.
What is Business Mapping?
The important thing about creating a business strategy is that everyone needs to understand it. If there is no understanding, then how can you work by it? This is where business mapping comes into play. It segments your business into nine simple building blocks:
- Key Partners
- Key Activities
- Key Resources
- Value Propositions
- Customer Relationships
- Customer Segments
- Cost Structure
- Revenue Streams
Its focus is simply: how you create value.
Now you have identified these categories, you are tasked with answering the questions associated with them. Which one of our customer’s problems are you helping to solve? Which needs are you satisfying? What value do you deliver to your customer? How will you reach your customers? Which channels are most cost efficient? Who are your key partners/suppliers? And who are the most costly?
Think of Business Mapping like creating a prototype of your business; something that encapsulates the essence of what you intend to do, but will also need to be refined. It is your tool of inquiry and will serve as a thinking aid for you to explore your new business idea, and all that it could be. It will help you develop crude ideas and rapidly accept them or discard them. It allows you to examine possibilities before choosing and refining your ideas, methods and processes. In essence it helps you tell your story and then make smart decisions.
How Will it Benefit Your Business?
- Viability. You may have been scribbling brilliant ideas on a napkin for years, but it is only by completing your business map that you will truly understand if it is viable. Will you be able to deliver value, at a price point your market will pay, at a cost that will leave room for profit?
- Discover Your Niche. Recognize what makes your business stand out from the crowd. The most successful businesses have a strong, unique concept and a clear identity. Understanding your niche will help you define your marketing strategy, create stronger relationships with your clients and even decide your business location.
- The Business Pitch. When starting your business, there is one thing that you will get to know like the back of your hand, and that’s your business ‘elevator’ pitch. Whether you are speaking to a bank, an investor, a supplier or a potential client, you will need to have a clear, succinct pitch that helps tell the story of your business. They do not want to know you are the next Starbucks or Lulu Lemon or Google, they want to know how you are going to provide value to your clients and how you will make money doing so. Your business map provides you with the facts to help tell your story.
- Engaging Employees. If you are going to employ a team, they will need to have a crystal clear understanding of the vision of the business and how they can contribute to it.
- Provoke Ideas. You may have been talking for a long time about your vision for your business, and have it all mapped out in your head, but until your write it down, you will not understand how different areas impact each other. This can be a great thought provoking tool that will help generate new and innovative ideas you had not previously thought of.